It’s in becoming aware of our powerlessness that we gain faith in something greater than ourselves. If we believe we are powerful and have all the knowledge we need about life and its meaning, then we have no need of a higher power.
The spiritual journey, the journey to knowing God, is a journey into the mystery of our own powerlessness. Life is the best teacher. Life is full of disappointment, betrayal, abandonment, failure, and rejection, and that is the stuff of religious education. It’s the losses, disappointments, and failures that are our best teachers. When we embrace our brokenness, we can begin to embrace the one who loves us just as we are. We need to let go of the lies the world offers and open our hearts to what’s real, then we can begin to discover the knowable God.
We often muse about why so many people in church have white hair. It’s because they have traveled this journey of life’s disappointments and have come to know the knowable God who loves them unconditionally. They have come to realize the emptiness of selfishness and greed. Real spiritual growth comes when we let go of our addiction to self.
How do we know when we have found God? When we begin to focus on the other. When there is an increased capacity for compassion, forgiveness, and love. When we begin to turn away from the all-demanding self and turn our eyes and hearts out to the other, then we are starting to discover the knowable God.
Jesus said that those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. He also said if we spend our life trying to find our life, we’ll lose it; on the other hand, if we spend our life letting go of our life, we’ll find it.
Our culture is made to order for this spiritual journey. We love to define our self almost entirely by external achievements, by external appearance, by skin color, by the car we drive, where we live, and so forth. Which of course is all illusion; or as Jesus said about the rich man who built more barns - foolishness. There’s something more in life than accumulating money and possessions. There's something more in life than worrying about what others think of us. Eventually, we all figure that out whether we find God or not.
So how do we know God? We find Him when we’ve let go of all of the obscurities that blind us to Him. When we transcend the illusions of the world, we begin to know the very knowable God. As Christians, we are so fortunate because we follow a God in Jesus who modeled it for us. We follow a God who loves us so dearly, he became one of us to show The Way.